About 28 km from Darjeeling, at an altitude of 4000 ft, lays a tranquil and beautiful neighborhood called Takdah at the foothills of the Himalayan forest vegetation. Takdah Cantonment is a quiet and serene area in the Rangli Rangliot CD block of Darjeeling and is one of the upcoming tourist centers in the hills.
The beauty of this area in Darjeeling is not just noted today; the Britishers during their invasion in the East couldn’t resist its natural beauty and built one of their headquarters here as well as numerous heritage buildings. Many heritage buildings still stand tall in this region today, some of which belong either to the locals or are taken over by establishments like schools.
Chirag Pradhan is a local of the neighborhood who runs a beautiful resort at Takdah Cantonment called ‘Woods at Cantonment’, which was established 6 years ago. He is one of those people who believe in preserving one’s culture and traditions. “I lived in a metropolitan city for some years and also completed my studies from outside. But what brought me back is the love for my place and an awareness that I did not want to work under anyone, rather start something of my own and do something to preserve our cultural heritage,” says Chirag.
A renovated old 'British Heritage Building' at the resort
“After the establishment of the resort, we also constructed a traditional kitchen called the ‘Bhansaghar’ in the premises with a traditional Nepali chullah,” adds Chirag. Chirag believes that there are many locals who have not even had a glimpse of a traditional kitchen and artifacts, so visiting the resort and the Bhansaghar would give them an idea of what a traditional kitchen really looks like.
'Bhansaghar' - the traditional kitchen of 'Woods at Cantonment'
The resort is run by Chirag and his family with the help of a few workers, and the area is as big as two football fields. Woods at Cantonment has a natural forest and beautiful gardens inside its premises with swings for the visitors to enjoy.
What can you find on the resort premises?
Nine of the British Heritage Buildings at Takdah belong to Chirag and his family today, which are being renovated for the guests to stay. The guests can also stay in a beautiful modern building with exquisite traditional architecture. It has a total of 13 rooms with queen-size beds and lovely views.
Inside the premises, you can stroll around 5-6 pretty gardens with benches. There are also swings in the park and a badminton court for visitors. You can also spot several farm animals like fish, guinea pigs, and rabbits.
Beautiful garden at the resort
“Our neighborhood is totally away from the main town and is surrounded by cool and lovely forests that are frequented by deer and kalij pheasants. It feels as if they live with us in the gardens,” says Chirag.